Penis pumps cost U.S. government millions, watchdog cries waste

Penis pumps cost the U.S. government’s Medicare program $ 172 million between 2006 and 2011, about twice as much as the consumer would have paid at the retail level, according to a government watchdog’s report released on Monday. The report by the inspector general for the Department of Health and Human Services said Medicare, the government health insurance system for seniors, paid nearly 474,000 claims for vacuum erection systems, or VES, totaling about $ 172.4 million from 2006 to 2011. According to the Mayo Clinic, penis pumps are one of a few treatment options for erectile dysfunction. “Medicare payment amounts for VES remain grossly excessive compared with the amounts that non-Medicare payers pay,” said the report, dated December 2013.
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